Rochester Reads!

Inaugurated in 2001 with Ernest J. Gaines’ award‐winning novel A Lesson before Dying, Rochester Reads is an annual city‐wide tradition that inspires readers to deepen self‐understanding, engage thoughtfully with important issues, and connect with one another through the shared experience of literature.

N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became is our Rochester Reads 2023 selection.

“A love letter, a celebration and an expression of hope and belief.”—NPR


Thursday, October 26
Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Drive, Rochester, NY

RECEPTION, 5:30 – 6:45 pm | $50
Mingle with fellow book lovers over light hors d’oeuvres, wine, and beverages. Your ticket includes reserved, priority seating at N. K. Jemisin’s keynote. Purchase your ticket here.

AUTHOR’S KEYNOTE & BOOK SIGNING, 7 – 9 pm | $0 – $20
Welcome by Annette Jiménez Gleason, Senior Program Officer at Rochester Area Community Foundation; introduction by scholar Dr. Gaya Shakes. This event is Sold Out. Zoom Link to free keynote Virtual Gift Economy tickets are available here.

Saturday, October 28


SUNY Brockport Downtown, 161 Chestnut Street, Rochester, NY

ROCHESTER READS BOOK FESTIVAL , 10 am – 5 pm | $0 – $20
Welcome by NY State Senator Samra G. Brouk
Browse indie bookstores and small press publishers’ tables and acquaint yourself with area cultural resources.  Enjoy pop-up events, author signings, panels, and multigenerational readings and performances. Reserve your ticket here. Walk-ins are welcome.

Called by Neil Gaiman “a glorious fantasy,” N.K. Jemisin’s New York Times bestselling novel The City We Became is a drama of human avatars navigating a society threatened by suspicion, corruption, racism, and xenophobia. The book’s cast embodies the soul of New York City, each avatar representing a different borough through a distinct identity and magical power. Enchanted by the city’s electric beauty, these characters unite to achieve their common goal of quashing oppression and protecting the city from an ancient, otherworldly evil.

The City We Became is yet another example of Jemisin’s unmatched genius at weaving racial capitalism into epic fantasy. Like her Broken Earth trilogy, The City We Became estranges us from the everyday operations of power so that we can, with new clarity, see how it works and how it can be unraveled and remade . . .”  —  Los Angeles Review of Books

A MacArthur Fellow, Jemisin’s speculative novels and short stories range from fantasy to science fiction to the undefinable. Her themes include resistance to oppression, the inseverability of the liminal, and the coolness of Stuff Blowing Up. Jemisin has published 10 novels, including the Dreamblood Duology, the Great Cities Duology, and the Inheritance Trilogy; a novella, The Awakened Kingdom; two short story collections, Shades in Shadow and How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?; and the comic/graphic novel Far Sector. She is the recipient of a Nebula Award, four Locus Awards, and an unprecedented three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards.

Select Interviews
The New Yorker, 2020; Paris Review, 2018; GQ, 2018; Vulture, 2018

Shop Ampersand Books for progressive discounts on The City We Became.

1 – 10 copies…….15% discount
11 – 24 copies ….17% discount
25 – 49 ……………20% discount
50 – 100 ………….25% discount
101 – 149 …………28% discount
150 plus …………..30% discount




Rochester Reads Sponsorship Opportunities: Learn more here.

Submit your corporate sponsorship contribution here.


Thank you, Rochester Reads Sponsors & Contributors 2023!

Supporting Sponsors: Konar Properties; Monroe County; SUNY Brockport
Benefactors: Canandaigua National Bank; Strong National Museum of Play
Patrons: Elisabeth Judson and The Pike Company; The Strathallan Hotel & Spa
Associates: Trevor Harrison & Danielle Bloch; Radio Social; RIT College of Liberal Arts, Department of English; RocGrowth
Community Partner: Hochstein School, Courtyard by Marriott Rochester Downtown
Media Sponsor: Buffalo Spree Magazine

Programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.